Howard Board of Elections Receives $700K COVID-19 Response Grant

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Howard County Board of Elections announced that the County received a COVID-19 response grant of $688,226 from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to assist in the upcoming general election with increased costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Howard County Board of Elections will use these funds to offset the growing election judge and staffing costs of running a 50% mail-in election and in-person voting simultaneously. Additionally, this grant will be used to pay down the costs of PPE, including: masks, gloves, hand sanitizer / plexiglass shields for the judges in the polling places, and masks for any voter that does not have one upon entering a vote center.

“This year’s general election is one of the most important and consequential in our lifetimes with the additional complications of keeping our voters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said County Executive Ball. “I am thankful that our Board of Elections under the leadership of Guy Mickley sought out and received this grant that will help greatly offset the increased costs of staffing and personal protective equipment”

“The Howard County Board of Elections has been laser focused on the health, safety, and efficiency of conducting this challenging general election; this grant will greatly assist our efforts and thank the Center for Tech and Civic life for these much-needed funds,” said Guy Mickley, Howard County Board of Elections Director.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Center for Tech and Civic Life offered $250 million in grant funding to local election officials across the country to expanding voter education and outreach, recruiting and training poll workers, supporting early in-person voting/vote by mail, and maintain safety protocols to protect officials and voters from COVID-19.

According to a County press release:

This grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life comes from a $400 million donation from Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg to promote safe and reliable voting around the nation and provide Board of Elections officials with additional funds for staffing, training and equipment necessary to ensure a fair and equitable election.

“On behalf of the residents of Howard County, we are very appreciative for the Center for Tech and Civic Life and the donations of Pricilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg to assist us in ensuring all our voters have a safe and more equitable election,” said County Executive Ball. “I encourage all voters in Howard County who are registered and eligible to make a plan to vote by utilizing early voting, drop boxes for absentee ballots, and allowing yourself enough time to cast your vote at your polls.”

“To face the multitude of challenges of this year’s election, costs are much higher, and this grant will help offset the cost to the Howard County taxpayers,” said Mickley. “We recommend that all voters make a plan to vote this election, encourage absentee and early voting and be aware that this year’s general election will be very different and could consist of longer lines and potential delays in counting the vote.”

Early voting in Maryland begins starts next Monday, October 26, and runs through Monday, November 2, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., at five locations throughout Howard County. Additionally, nine “drop boxes” are currently available across the county for voters to cast their absentee ballots. All mail-in ballots will also be counted if postmarked by November 3. On Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 17 Howard County poll locations will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Any Howard County voter can vote any poll location for early voting and Election Day voting.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

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